Three players — Disney-Star, Sony Sports, and Viacom 18 — are in the fray as the BCCI sells its bilateral cricket media rights through an e-auction on Thursday.
The rights will be sold in two packages — Package A includes India subcontinent TV while Package B has India subcontinent digital plus world TV and digital. The base price for Package A is Rs 20 crore and Package B Rs 25 crore, making it a combined base price of Rs 45 crore per game for a total of 88 matches.
This includes 25 Tests, 27 ODIs, and 36 T20Is — 21 games versus Australia, 18 against England, 10 with South Africa and 11 versus New Zealand among the major nations.
The IPL rights had been sold for a staggering Rs 48,390 crore for five years --- around Rs 118 crore per game.
While the figures are in no way close to the IPL numbers, they indicate a significant drop in interest for bilateral series. Not many are optimistic that the BCCI can swim against the tide this time too. However, there is also talk that the BCCI is undervaluing its property.
The Invitation to Tender document states that the BCCI would terminate the process if the combined price of an international game falls below Rs 60 crore. Industry experts have projected the value between Rs 65 crore and 75 crore.
Star Sports India’s winning bid in 2018 for both TV and digital platforms, stood at Rs 6138.1 crore for the period of 2018 to 2023, averaging around Rs 60.1 crore per game.
The Reliance-backed Viacom is fairly new to the fold but is expected to go all out for Package B. Viacom has the digital rights for IPL.
Disney-Star’s objective is unclear after what transpired following the IPL and ICC media rights. It let go digital in the IPL and bought TV. Then when ICC rights came up it bought TV and digital from ICC before relinquishing TV to keep digital.
Sony Sports Network now holds the TV rights for the ICC World Cup for the next four years starting 2024, secured through its merger with Zee.
There have been reports of Disney’s intention to divest its India business but they could spring a surprise on Thursday. But Sony is expected to aggressively pursue TV because it hasn’t secured any major event since buying the IPL rights in 2008 before letting it go in 2017.